The Smiling Eyes
Streets are empty. No children run through the school courtyard, nor in the public gardens. No queue in front to the downtown’s market: there is no market at all. The sound of silence is not a song, it’s a reality. People have disappeared from the city’s landscapes.
Florence’s beautiful piazzas sees only a few pigeons around, but even them make few noises, scared by the overwhelming silence. Venice is an impressive desert, and the returned transparent waters sees only fishes moving around in a senseless and stupefied, restless movement. Rome’s Colosseum has turned to a magnificent silence, as it probably never was in his millenarian history, while Pompei has finally reconquested its deathful glamour.
Only Milan has never stopped to resound, but the sounds of activities has been replaced by the one of ambulances.
Life and human activities seem suspended in a fairy tale enchantment, but the Godmother Fairy is walking the streets with protective gloves, distributing sanitary face masks. Will all this ever stop? Italy is frozen as a suspended land.
Workers are not working, except the few who produce and deliver essential things. The Fashion world discovered not to be essential at all. On Tv and on the web millions of voices whisks like frightened sparrows, echoing each other all kinds of activities, apparently saying “look at me, I’m alive!”
I discovered that my students love the web, but they are frightened like me by the emptiness that emanate. How could it be otherwise? They have finally discovered to be more analogic than they thought: the emptiness of the insignificant, of appearing at any cost, which was still so important only a month ago, was swept away by the desire for the mother’s embrace, a kiss of the girlfriend, a pizza with friends. Buying a new bag or a nice dress, no longer seems to be the reason for a life.
Things have changed. Now that we are still forced in our safe confinement, we look at our wardrobes, with no interest at all, wondering how have we built such number of textiles, accessories, shoes, scarfs, make up: for what? For who? If it was true what we were saying just a few times ago to justify – “I’m just dressing for my pleasure and not for other reasons” – we should be dressing up also in the closure of our domestic cloister; but we are discovering that maybe, we were a fake: we don’t feel any urge to dress up, now.
It is something that also market analysts are working on – looking forward to the re-opening: has our habits really changed so much?
Certainly, the most of us, glimpsed inside of our scared souls and what we saw not always was pleasant. Maybe, we went too far in the hyper-appreciation of our own needs and beauty desires; maybe, what we were searching was a difficult approbation from a society too selfish to look at others than itself, lost in the empty mirrors of our socials, blind to the cripple’s, the poor’s, the simple’s deepest needs. And now, we discover we are part of them, that we aren’t so special at all, that we can die neglected, in silence, alone, undressed, naked and pure as the protagonists of ancient legends.
The only caress, the tired and human smiling eyes which look tenderly at us, in despair, over the sanitary face mask.
Yes, we will raise again, we will again put on the make-up and that sexy dress which we like so much, we will go out again and drink the sweetest aperitivo ever with friends.
But now, maybe, fashion can wait another while.
Lovers, Amalia Duprè, 1993, Coll. Priv.